Tuesday, December 16, 2014

amazed and encouraged!!!

My sending church has every missionary establish a monthly prayer group, they call them Barnabas Teams.  Yesterday was the second time that my Barnabas Team gathered and I am just amazed and encouraged by them and their hearts for the Lord!!!  Such an incredible privilege to gather with this group and praise the Lord together, pray together, and know that they love me and want to encourage me on this journey to Guatemala!!!  

Support just keeps going up!!! I received a recent report and was amazed and encouraged that I can officially say that I'm at 52% of my support with others who have mentioned being interested in becoming financial partners.  I wasn't sure if the Lord would allow me to be at the 60% needed by mid-January which is the goal in order to be able to attend a required orientation in Feb. I'm now expecting that goal to be reached, and maybe even surpass that goal =)  The Lord is so faithful!  As the Lord continues to expand the team of people supporting me financially, I am so thankful for how each one is a unique story of God's faithfulness!  I feel more than just supported with money, but I feel prayed for, encouraged, and loved - that this team of people are journeying with me and are already playing an important role in ministering to the Treasures of Guatemala!!!

If the Lord is calling you to join this incredible team- there is still time and plenty of needs, and you too will be amazed and encouraged along with me!!!
I'd love for you to be part of my prayer team for sure!!!
The next goal will be getting another $1300 - $1500 in monthly support and another $18,000 in one-time gifts in order to be able to move to Guatemala!!!
If you you are able to join my financial team by supporting me monthly or with one-time gifts, click HERE for the direct link to my organization, TEAM, who collects all donations and will send you a tax-deductible receipt!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Seeing the Beauty of the Lord

I was recently asked how I have seen the beauty of the Lord in my own life or in the lives of others, and it took a moment to think about how I could answer that.  Have I seen the beauty of the Lord in my own life?  The truth is, the beauty of the Lord is all around us!  I can see the beauty of the Lord laced through my journey getting to Guatemala.  I can see the beauty of the Lord in unlikely places like the Guatemala City Garbage dump where the hug of a child reflects the beauty of the Lord.  I can see the beauty of the Lord all around me in His creation. Once I started looking I could see it over and over again - even in the falling brown leaves or the soon to be cold winter!  

What about you?  How have you seen the beauty of the Lord in your life recently?  
Ps. 27:4 "One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek:  that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple."

October was an exciting month at my church as we focused on global missions.  I had many opportunities to share with others about Guatemala and the Lord's faithfulness in leading me there.  

In November, I was able to attend the Global Medical Health Conference in Louisville.  It's an amazing time to gather with around 2,500 people who are also interested in or involved in medical missions.  I had a great time learning from others as well as reconnecting with many others that I've journeyed with at different times of my life whether in Chicago or Cedarville or Indianapolis or Togo or Nepal or Guatemala!!!

I will continue to work in the Riley ER as long as possible, but I have cut down my hours some to allow for a little more time to focus on preparation!  I started an internship at my sending church, College Park Church, with the Global Missions department which is such an honor!  I'm currently there every Tuesday!!!
Continuing to wait for the Lord's timing in moving out of my apartment.  
Along with this comes packing/sorting/purging, all of which I'm horrible at!!!  
Any help is welcome =)

The journey to Guatemala
I have about 40% of my monthly support - and I rejoice in how the Lord has provided EVERY one of those dollars!!! 
Would you also like to partner with me on this journey? 

Here are a few ideas: 

*I need people to pray for me, can you do that? 

* I need monthly supporters, any monthly amount helps, but I can't go to Guatemala until I'm at 100%, will you join me as a monthly supporter?  

* I need one time donations for pre-field training and transition/start up costs - if I need to get a car, it could be up to $20,000, can you help with that?

* I would love more opportunities to share one on one or with small groups or churches!!!  Do you know anybody who would like to hear more about this ministry?

Do you want to know more about prayer or financial partnership?
I would love to talk with you more!!!!

If you already know that the Lord has called you to be part of this ministry, you can click HERE to begin online donations.  Once I have 100% of the monthly costs needed to move to Guatemala, I can go!!!  That will be an exciting time to come to the point of knowing that the Lord’s abundant provisions will allow me to go and serve the least of these and bring His hope to those who have no hope!!!

***My desire would be to return to Guatemala by March of 2015!!!  
Watching and waiting to see if that is also the Lord's timing!!!*** 

I can’t tell you enough how much your prayers and support along this journey have meant to me!!!  And, how much I will continue to need that as I walk this new journey!!!  Please continue to let me know how I can be praying for you!!!  It is a privilege to have the opportunity to bear our burdens together as we take them to Jesus and entrust Him with ALL things!!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

May trip to Guatemala

Overlooking Guatemala City

In May I had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala for about 4 days.  It was a very, very quick trip, but I was so thankful for every moment there!  My first trip to Guatemala was in 2003, and then I proceeded to travel there about 6 more times including a total of 4 months living there and attending language school.  My last trip to Guatemala had been in 2007 where I spent one month working with national doctors in a clinic setting.  I have spent time trying to find ways to return to Guatemala long term, but it just seems that the Lord had not opened the door for that until now!  Earlier this year I was accepted by TEAM as a full time missionary!  We have been talking about me going to Guatemala, but I have never seen the specific ministry that TEAM works with and wanted to see that before committing to my 3 or more years in Guatemala!
So, the overall purpose of the trip was to meet fellow missionaries and Guatemalan co-workers and see the communities I would be serving.  My first two days were spent at the Potter's House, which is a Guatemalan run Christian NGO (non-government organization).  They serve the 10,000+ people who scavenge through the Guatemala City garbage dump.  There are countless needs within this community and the Potter's House is working to address as many of those as possible.  But, they are not only concerned about material poverty, they are concerned about their spiritual poverty and trying to help them find hope in the only One who can bring them hope!!!  One of the ways they do this is through offering medical care.  That's where I come in!  As I was sitting with the medical team of the Potter's House, they asked me what I would like to do if I moved down there.  My question to them was, what do you do and what are your goals and visions for the future?  They then started telling me about how they would like to expand their medical care of the more than 5,000 children living in these dump communities, work with women and infants to prevent malnutrition, and train some community members to be lay health workers in these dump communities.  When I told that my experience had been mostly in pediatrics and I had already gotten a master's degree in community health nursing, their jaws just about dropped open =)  What I didn't tell them was that I have worked in a homeless shelter, worked in a community clinic primarily working with pregnant women, and have always wanted to train nationals to take my place!!!   This was just one of the many stories during my 4 days that made my jaw drop as well!

Kids in health class at the Potter's House
Community surrounding the garbage dump

It's amazing to me that the Lord could take so many of my past "wandering steps" and pull together this opportunity for me to serve Him in Guatemala!    As I've been praying for the Lord to clearly confirm this step towards Guatemala, I can not believe how much He has designed this to be a perfect fit for me!   Now, that's not to say that this has been an easy decision!  The Lord has given me a great love for the people of Guatemala, but the Lord has also given me a great love for the people of many other countries.  It's been a difficult step to feel like I have to choose the people of one country over another.  However, the Lord doesn't need me anywhere - and He cares for people everywhere more than I ever could!!!  So, this is an area that I've had to constantly entrust to the Lord!  I also returned from Guatemala having to work through my response to seeing some of the difficulties that will arise when I do move there.  Like, how will I live in Guatemala City and enjoy it, or where will I live, or how will I navigate in such horrible traffic?  But, the Lord will provide one step at a time, I don't have to know all the answers now before I move!

The next step then, figuring out how and when I can return to Guatemala!!!  My goal is to go back in the spring of 2015.  There will be a lot to do between now and then!  I plan to continue working as a nurse at Riley while I begin developing a team of people who will prayerfully and financially support the ministry in Guatemala.  There will be other things that need to be done in preparing to leave and sorting/packing as well as various trainings to help prepare me for going!  Once I move to Guatemala, I anticipate taking the first couple months to focus on remembering more of the spanish that I have learned and increase my vocabulary!  And then during that time I can work on finding housing and re-acclimating to the culture as well as beginning to serve with the Potter's House.  

Over the past few months, the Lord has been reminding me of His incredible faithfulness!!!  When I'm tempted to worry or be fearful of what lies ahead, I just have to remember His faithfulness in the past and present and know that He will be faithful in the future!  I love the way Psalm 136  rehearses the phrase "His love endures forever" after every statement.  The other day while reading that, I was thinking about my own life and how I could insert my own phrases and repeat the same thing over and over again!  God is in control of all things, good or bad, easy or hard, and we can ALWAYS trust Him!!!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Grace and Guatemala

I haven't blogged for a long time, but not for lack of things to say!!!  I wanted to blog about Guatemala and post a little bit more info about the trip i'll be taking there in May.  However, first I have to blog just a little about Grace because I still can't believe that the Lord allowed me to be part of her story and that through her the Lord would show me even more of His grace!!!
It's been a year and a half since returning from Togo.  I actually left never expecting to return to that country.  Never could I have imagined that back in Nov. 2013 the Lord would provide me with the unforgettable opportunity to become part of her journey!!!  Grace is a sweet little 6 year old Togolese girl who had some heart problems since birth, specifically an arrhythmia called SVT and a hole in her heart called a PDA.  These defects caused her periodic health problems that threatened to take her life, but the Lord sustained her each time she was sick!   During my time in Togo in 2012, Grace came into the hospital in an episode of SVT and we were unable to control her arrhythmia.  I remember helping to attempt and provide care for her which was all unsuccessful, and there wasn't much else to do.  The other nurses and I prayed over her, and I left the hospital asking the Lord to spare her life.  Later that night I learned that she has spontaneously come out of the arrhythmia and was doing well.  It was a reminder that her life is in the Lord's hands, and I was thankful that yet again, He allowed her to live!!!  I never again saw Grace during the remainder of 2012, and she would have never remembered me from our brief interaction since she was so sick.

Fast forward to the fall of 2013 and I learn that arrangements were underway for Grace to be flown to the US to have two procedures on her heart to fix both of her heart problems!!!  There was talk of her going to Texas or Colorado, and I was just excited for the care she would be receiving!  Then, I learned she was not going to either of those places, but coming to INDIANAPOLIS and her procedures would be at RILEY!!!  I was so excited for the opportunity to be able to have her at my hospital and while I wouldn't be directly providing her nursing care, she would be at my hospital and she would be in my city!!!  I had also mentioned to somebody that I would be more than willing to fly to Togo to accompany Grace from Togo to Indianapolis for the procedure since she would be flying by herself without any family, but never thinking that would be possible.  You can imagine my shock when I was called and asked if I would actually be willing to fly with Grace from Indianapolis to Togo after her procedure!!!  YES, of course!!!  And, the sponsoring organization would be paying for the cost of the plane ticket!!!  I cannot explain to you what a special time it was to have Grace here in  Indianapolis!!!  Her host family was so gracious and allowed me to come to their house to spend time with her, I was able to see her in the hospital and go with her to her follow up appointments.  The Lord gifted us with a bond that was unexplainable given the fact that we could barely communicate with words!

The time came for us to board the plane and she was so excited to be returning to her family!!!  We had the most amazing trip - I was so nervous to be responsible for a 6 year old on the flights but she did awesome!!!  We were in the Paris airport during our 6 hour layover and I finally found food she would eat - rice and sauce.  I remember looking across at her and being in wonder that the Lord would allow me to share this journey with this child.  The Lord took care of her in so many special ways that it has been impossible to write them all down, and here I was, sitting with her and seeing this all firsthand, amazing!  We arrived in Togo and after an overnight in the capital city, a long drive to the hospital, and a tiresome wait for her mother to finish her work in the fields, Grace was reunited with her mother and brother!  I had only 3 short days in Togo, but I felt like the Lord made each moment special and purposeful!  I was able to attend her church on Sunday and share with them how God had answered their prayers for Grace.  I was able to visit Grace's home, and through tears recount to her mother a few of the special ways the Lord had cared for Grace during her trip to the US.  Photos and memories of Grace still bring tears to my eyes, the Lord bonded us in a way that I could have never imagined and I miss her!!!  But, not only did the Lord allow me to get to know a girl named Grace, He gave me a glimpse of His grace that is unimaginable and unforgettable!!!  If the Lord can extend such grace over the life of a 6 year old and care for her as tenderly as He has since before she was born and care so deeply for every intricate detail of her life . . . does He not also care for me, and you, in the same way!!!

Now . . . about GUATEMALA!!!

I've been accepted by TEAM as a long term medical missionary going to Guatemala!!!  I'm going on a quick 5 day trip from May 3-8th to see the ministry and meet the missionaries.  I don't need long since I've been to the country before and know the general culture and some of the language.  However, I do want to see everything in person since this ministry is new to me!!!
TEAM is partnering with an existing Christian non-profit organization run primarily by Guatemalans called the Potter's House.  The Potter's House takes a holistic approach to serving the over 10,000 people scavenging through the Guatemala City garbage dump.  They address their spiritual needs, but also needs such as medical, physical, emotional, social, etc.  The Potter's House refers to each person they serve as a treasure because they want to reinforce that in God's sight they are treasures and have value and worth - they are not garbage just because they live and work in a garbage dump.  Potential opportunities to serve there abound for me!  I would love to serve the medical needs through the clinic and community health opportunities, as well as work with the children and be involved with church planting through evangelism and discipleship!   I could tell you more about what I've heard or read, but i'll wait until I have seen it firsthand!

Meanwhile, if you are interested in reading more, here are some links:
The Potter's House website
Articles by TEAM
Articles by World Next Door

I'd greatly appreciate your prayers for this trip to Guatemala, I know I'll need them!!! 
Let me know if you'd like to be added to my e-mail updates!!!